So here it is, its Wednesday March 12th, 2014, a beautiful sunny day here on the west coast of Canada. I fetched my snail mail this afternoon, I opened an envelope addressed to me. No, it wasn’t bills or bad news, it was…well, I wasn’t sure what to think. Most of the world knows who Mayor Rob Ford is, if you don’t know who he is, he is the Mayor of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has admitted to smoking crack cocaine, and is a binge drinker, along with host of other issues. There’s a much deeper story, but I don’t have the time, the patience, or the space to write it.
So, in the mail today I got a direct mail piece, they used Send Out Cards (www.sendoutcards.com), so, a card, I have never done business with them before, or know anyone who works for them, so they’re soliciting via the shotgun approach. This card was from a financial firm in British Columbia, getting the card was fine, but what was on the cover….well…. rather than me say it, I’ll show you:
Now I understand what they’re trying to do, but I felt like they were going for the cheap humor, potty jokes. The question, “What do employee benefit renewals and elections have in common?”gets lost in seeing Mayor Rob Ford’s picture to me. Call it shock marketing, hoping the negative will be a positive conversion experience. The sell inside the card, I removed the company name & phone number. Here’s the inside message:
Would you consider this a good direct mail piece, would you use the picture of Mayor Rob Ford as your cover, is this a good marketing idea or bad? Would you do business with this company? What is your gut reaction, impressions? Remember, perception is everything.
What is fusion marketing? Fusion Marketing is simple really, you do me a favor & I’ll reciprocate – kind of like Barter Advertising – it’s a different way of using old marketing tactics. For example, you put my sign in your store, and I’ll put yours in my store front. To me it’s just a fancy name for helping each other market for free.
It’s not a business model, it’s just marketing.
There is much confusion on what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is, and what it will do for you, in fact, there are many claiming it to be the end all to your websites problems. I’m not going to go into the details of SEO, I’m going to share an experience, what I’m often asked to do for a business. I can safely say, if you think SEO is going to bring the desired outcomes you’re hoping to obtain without planning, without knowing why you’re flexing the SEO muscle in the first place, you most likely would be wrong and disappointed. If your website sucks, SEO will merely reveal that it sucks even more, much like Social Media Networks do.
SEO is not duck-tape, it’s not a quick fix to a perceived problem,I’m not saying SEO doesn’t play a role in your marketing efforts, I am saying…you need to step back, fly at 50,000 feet, and ask yourself what it is you want your website to accomplish, and then work towards that end. It’s called a realistic strategy, and then a marketing strategy. To explore, to discover what your business objectives are, why do you even have a website? There are many, many questions that need to be answered long before you journey down the Search Engine Optimization road. The future of business is not about shortcuts, it’s not about SEO either.
SEO is not duck-tape, it’s not a quick fix to a perceived problem, it’s supposed to enhance, to improve your findability on the interwebs, to assist your conversion ratio, and much, much more. SEO is so much more than just trying to game Google or Bing, to just end up on page one. If you haven’t done the hard work, SEO won’t do anything if your site isn’t designed or setup to make people do something. If you’re only goal is to end up on page one, that’s easier than you think….but you will still fall short of your desired outcome.
SEO is so much more than just trying to game Google or Bing. SEO, in my opinion, should be in your marketing efforts, well after the planning and building, after you have completed a mind map of your site’s objectives. SEO is a tool to ensure your content is directing visitors to a call to action of some kind. SEO is not a destination, it will not fix other broken problems with your content, or your website, it will reveal them. SEO should be used to qualify those visitors, and then enticing them to go where you want them to go, what you want them to do. The very notion that SEO should is the solution to your site reaching page one is the wrong objective, it’s the wrong goal, you are asking the wrong questions, there are deeper reasons why Google and other search engines aren’t giving your site it’s due, your site isn’t doing the right things to garner their attention in the first place.
The future of business is not SEO!
So summer finally arrived, now it’s the dog days of July & August, and business has dropped off right? It happens every year, but most business owners don’t plan for the drop off. So when the drop hits, you start to panic, you make offers you normally wouldn’t make, you do things you normally wouldn’t do.
I too have the same problem, in fact, we all have the same problem, it’s called needing more clients / customers every month. We all at some point experience the dog days of summer drop off in business, or maybe it’s attendance for your workshop and so on. Why are we so shocked or suddenly surprised when it happens?
One of the best tips I can give you is this, find like-minded partners in your business community. Why not get together with 2 or 3 other businesses and work together for the common good of your businesses. Help each other get through the summer months by building a promotion that involves all of you, and share the costs evenly if at all possible. This is very common in the online world of doing business on the Internet, it just makes sense. The MLM businesses call this having the best interest in your success, why, because everyone wins.
Brainstorm ideas together, work the details out and promote it like it you would the Olympics, invest in it. This is not a new concept, it’s just one we tend to over look or blow off, mostly because it seems like it’s too much work. Well, welcome to the world of being in business, work is part of the deal when you started your business.
The work is actually the easy part of solving your problem, the real issue is foresight. Taking the time to stop and look ahead 3 – 6 months can help prevent these down turns in July & August. It takes effort, you may want to bring someone in to help look at your situation from the outside looking in, they will see things you can’t. Why? Because you are too close to the problem.
This all sounds so simple doesn’t it, if it was these short-term struggles wouldn’t happen to most businesses. So keep it simple, because simple is hard enough.
So, find some partners going through the same struggle in your area, make sure they are not competition : ) Pose the question of doing a promotion together, and get creative. Do something significant, not the usual giveaways and 10% discounts, do something special for your business communities / tribes. Make your clients/customers want to get involved, they have the money, give them a reason to buy. Your customers are worth it.
When simple & brilliant collide. You would think this happens often, but it doesn’t. In the marketing world, this collision would be called a homerun, the grand slam, or utopia, that’s when they think they have nailed it. When you hear the words, or see the picture, you can’t help but smile.
The word KitKat, or seeing a picture of one, just makes you feel good, you want to have one. Could you imagine if everyone felt this way when they think of your product or service?
The super stars tend to have this collision more often than most, that’s why they are the leading brands, they bring simple and brilliant together, often.
What do you feel when you see this picture above, do you think the marketing department knows what they are selling? Is it a chocolate bar, or a feeling you get when you eat one?
I just had to share this with you, it’s simple & brilliant. The future of your business should practice this, how could you bring simple & brilliant together for your product or service?